“Cement Postcard with Owl Colours” is the new Phantom Buffalo CD, and I love it — truly, madly and deeply.

Where does one begin? Imagine, if you will, waking to a sunny day, wandering into a toy store and then wandering out with a new paper kite. From there you head to, say, the Eastern Prom, and run like a kid with a new pair of Zips sneakers as the kite skids across the grass while you run and laugh before the perfect zephyr gets a hold of it and it rises as fast as you can get the string to unwind. Meanwhile, the ice cream truck pulls up to the curb, a flock of seagulls is hovering nearby and a sun-shower shows up just long enough to reveal a mother of a rainbow over the Casco Bay Bridge.

That’s what it’s like listening to this album; it’s a full spectrum of happenings. “If you want to disappear with me, we’ll float high, like two clouds on the breeze,” sings Jonathan Balzano-Brookes during the opening track, “Listen to the Leaves.”

But it’s not just the vocals — far from it. The guitars by Timothy Burns, Philip Willey (who also plays accordion, synthesizers and piano) and Balzano-Brookes have a spin-art effect of textures and colors.

Speaking of Burns, he’s on lead vocals for three of the album’s 12 songs. We first hear him on “Bad Disease.” His voice doesn’t have quite the same presence as Balzano-Brookes’, but he can certainly hold his own, and when both voices converge, the result is euphonious. “Atleesta” may sound like the sister city of, say, Atlantis, but it’s actually just the clever name of  the album’s fifth track, which goes a little something like this: “Don’t go away for at least another day.”

“I Bring the Sunshine and Nightmares” is another one with Burns singing lead. The song is a maze, and behind every door is a surprising sound or tempo change. Dare I say it’s kind of psychedelic? Yep, I’m saying it. Seconds later, with “Ray Bradbury’s Bones,” it’s like hearing a country goth song. Was that a harmonica I just heard with that acoustic guitar and twangy slide?

I tried hard to find a dud on this album, but it just wasn’t happening because yes, it’s that good. School yourself at www.phantombuffalo.net and pick up a copy of “Cement Postcard with Owl Colours” at any Bull Moose store in Maine.

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at:

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